It was a total improvisation and I still cannot believe it gave such a marvellous result. Even though I have just come back from a short trip to Rome, which was a marvellous culinary experience, the dinner I dreamt of was fiery and Asian (yes, I am addicted…). I was tired by a long car trip, so anything complicated was out of question. I found two chicken legs in the fridge, I took out a jar of gochujang (Korean chilli paste), a tub of doenjang ( Korean soybean paste), one onion and some leftover stock I had in the freezer. Simmered for two hours in this mixture of ingredients, the chicken legs became fork tender, while the mixture of stock, soybean paste and gochujang has thickened turning into a sticky hot sauce. These few products created an amazing aroma, a complex taste and proved an extraordinary warming treat I will certainly make regularly this winter. I strongly recommend it to all the hot food lovers.
TIPS: If you don’t have the Korean soybean paste (doenjang), you can substitute it with the Japanese miso, which is a bit different. First of all Korean soybean paste has a stronger taste, so if you have only miso, use preferably a darker version. Japanese miso loses its nutritional values while simmered for a long time, while doenjang apparently doesn’t, so it is perfect for such a dish.
Taste the dish when it’s almost ready (the sauce is thick) and add more soybean paste if it’s not salty enough, or more gochujang, if it’s not hot enough.
I have served it with fresh chopped shiso and its strong taste was perfect here, but I am sure it would be also good with chives or spring onions.
Preparation: about 2 1/2 hours
Ingredients (serves two):
2 chicken legs (I have skinned and halved them but you can of course use whole legs with skin)
1 liter stock or water (use any stock, European or Asian, vegetarian or meat)
4 flat tablespoons Korean soybean paste or miso, preferably dark: red or black; or more
4 flat tablespoons gochujang (or more)
1 tablespoon oil
Slice the onion.
Heat the oil in a pan.
Fry the onion at medium heat until it softens.
Add the stock or water, the soybean paste, gochujang and stir well.
Add the chicken legs.
Cover the pan and make it simmer at low heat for one hour.
Take off the cover, increase the heat and simmer the dish for at least one more hour.
Taste when it’s almost ready and add more doenjang or gochujang if needed.
It’s ready when the sauce thickens and the meat falls off the bones when touched with a fork.
Serving it with chopped fresh shiso was a good idea, but you can choose any herb of your choice.